Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Inventory

So as Raytch (and pretty much everyone else) is well aware, I like making lists. Every year for as long as I can remember, I've written down/typed out everything I've gotten for Christmas. It's my way of remaining grateful for a long time.

Here it goes!

Christmas 2008

From Tanner:
A box of See's chocolate
A certificate to get a massage! Yesss...
The Ultimate Michael Jackson collection

From Raytch:
A cute "to-do list" pad (I'm going to put magnets on this for the fridge)
A Listography book

From Cara:
A Cookie cookbook (see this blog)

From Cody:
A dream jar

From Amber:
An old fashioned parchment stationery set

From Jason:
A cute card
A gold-plated heart necklace

From Jake:
A jewelry box with picture spots

From Jared:
A homemade and painted apple-shaped pencil holder

It says #1 Teacher on it :)

From Christmas:
Cute black bead bracelets

From Parents:
A portable salad shaker bowl thing (it's cooler than it sounds)
Victoria's Secret jammies and matching slippers:

Victoria's Secret bras--yesss!!
A mini-fondue ceramic set
An over-the-sink colander
A digital picture frame
A recipe book with some recipes from my mom
Money to buy clothes

Stocking presents:
Amway makeup remover
Hair tie scrunchy things
Candy and gum
Nail polish
A makeup brush set
Jingle bell toe socks

From Grandpa Gabe I got a card and a check.
From Grandma Bolda and Puffy I got money.
From Grandpa Mike I got money.
From Mimi I got a gift card to Wal-Mart.

If I forgot something, I apologize. This is all from memory. And I may not have received some presents or cards because I'm not at my apartment to receive them. Just want to thank everyone for such thoughtful and generous gifts. I love you all and hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

In other news:

My cat likes to sleep in the hall closet (on the top shelf).

My cat also beats up the dog. They have good boxing matches. Rusty's quick, but my cat is a lightweight street boxer.

My mom made a delicious Christmas dinner with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, stuffing, and amazing veggies.

I spent all day fixing my brother's computer by installing service packs, installing iTunes, getting his songs onto his iPod, and running an anti-virus program.

I've woken up in the family room to my grandpa's rustling of the newspaper and listening of his headphones on full blast pretty much every day since I got home. So I moved to the uncomfortable top bunk in my brothers' room.

Finally, and much to my dismay, punctuation and grammatical errors abound wherever I look. I'm finding it hard not to lose hope in humanity. Especially when we're complacent about what I regard as one of the biggest travesties in language evolution:

Nevertheless, I shall soldier on against certain changes and for certain changes.

Some of my best things this year:

1. The Lord's help in school and work--being able to fulfill all of my responsibilities to the best of my ability.
2. Prayer, and knowing that Heavenly Father hears and answers mine
3. A long fall
4. Supportive parents who help me so much financially so that I don't have to stress about those things.
5. My favorite people living with me
6. My loving boyfriend who puts up with me
7. Sleep

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tagged? Dumb.

Raytch and Cody tagged me.

8 Favorite T.V. Shows--
1. American Idol
2. So You Think You Can Dance?
3. House
4. Dog the Bounty Hunter
5. Criss Angel Mindfreak
6. Gene Simmons Family Jewels
7. Dexter
8. Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Dang that show--makes me cry every time.

8 Favorite Restaurants--
1. In-N-Out
2. Zupas
3. Red Robin
4. Outback Steakhouse
5. T.G.I. Friday's
6. Olive Garden
7. Carrabba's
8. Cafe Rio

8 Things to Look Forward To--
1. Sleeping tonight
2. Going back to Provo to my apartment and my loves
3. Kissing Tanner
4. Christmas tomorrow! :)
5. Marriage
6. Delivering Christmas trays
7. Opening and unwrapping things tomorrow
8. Graduation

8 Things I LOVE about winter--
1. Uh.
2. Hot chocolate
3. Christmas trees
4. Wood burning smell
5. Snuggling
6. Blankets
7. Baking
8. Sleeping

8 Things on my wishlist-
1. Chocolate
2. Clothes
3. I
4. don't
5. need
6. or
7. want
8. anything.

Now I tag these people:
1. Cara
2. Bri
3. Aunt April
4. Tracy
5. Tanner
6. Ashlee
7. Aunt Amy
8. Shivani

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'll Take That As a Compliment

I got into it with somebody close to me today.

I made a comment regarding men who go to serve the Lord at age 19, all-the-while funding themselves and trying to share their happiness with others--devoting themselves to Someone else.

In response I got, "Everything is church with you. there is almost nothing else in your life."

I will take that as a compliment. I've never been the kind to consider myself to be defined by a group that I'm in. I've always just wanted to be me, doing what I want, believing what I want. But this comment has made me realize that the gospel is what I want people to see when they know me. This comment has also shown me that I've changed immensely in the last three years.

If "everything is church with me," I guess I'm on the right track. I want the gospel at the center of my life, and I do want it to define me. And I am OK with that.

Where I draw the line is in self-righteousness. I hope to set an example by being loving and kind rather than in acting better than others. Believe it or not, there is a fine line there, especially when the people you love are not doing the things that would truly make them happy. It has taken a lot of effort for me not to speak out of turn, or act like I know everything, or chastise the people I love. But I try, and I do say something when I feel it's necessary.

I pray to be better in this, as love and patience and a good example are what will truly make a difference.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Christmas Tradition

For as long as I can remember, I have helped my mom with our Christmas baking every year. We usually make See's fudge, Chinese chews, chocolate chip cookies, and sugar cookies. We then use these goodies and make plates to deliver to neighbors and friends.

Slowly but surely, my mom has let me take over this whole thing completely. I love baking, but this is a LOT of work all on my own.

This year, we made Chinese chews. Thankfully, my brother helped. We also made fudge. I say we to involve my mom in the minuscule activities like chopping the nuts. I made sugar cookie dough as well. And I made Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies (minus the walnuts).

I decided, though, that it was time for more. Cara got me an amazing cookie recipe book for Christmas this year. I've made a lot of use of it so far. In addition to baking all of those things, I tried a new peanut butter cookie recipe for my dad called Chewy Choco-Peanut Pudgies. I made Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip cookies--which are AMAZING, by the way. I made Polka-dot Macaroons! And I made Honey Carrot Cookies.

I baked all of last night (about four or five hours) and for about six hours or more today. Needless to say, I am exhausted. But I'm pretty proud of myself. My abilities as a baker are without limits!

Here are some pictures, and please keep in mind that these are pictures AFTER tons of these things have been eaten by my family and other guests. This is just a portion of what I really did.

Chinese chews

Toll House chocolate chip cookies--minus a million that got eaten

Peanut Butter Pudgies

See's Fudge

Oatmeal Coconut chocolate chip cookies

Honey Carrot Cookies

Polka Dot Macaroons

Sugar cookies

Next? Rocky Road Brownies, Breakfast cookies, and more Oatmeal coconut Chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gabriel K. Balibrea aka "Granpa"

I've got finals coming up next week. I should probably be studying for those. But let's face it, it's the last day of class. I can't concentrate anymore. Plus, I already took my religion final, and I have an A in that class. One down, four to go! So while I'm hanging out at work for the last couple hours of my 20-hour work week, I thought I'd write about my grandpa Gabe. For those who don't know, he's my dad's dad.

Now, since my grandpa is 77, I could write an epic blog post about him. He has lived a pretty extraordinary life. I intend to have a record of it someday. I've gotten some on my digital recorder. For now though...

My grandpa was born and raised in Hawaii. He watched the bombers fly over Pearl Harbor in 1941. He got in bar fights. He helped raise his siblings. He joined the Army and the Marine Reserves. He worked on the H-bombs. He had two sons with my Mimi. He invented barbecuing utensils--he invented lots of things. He worked in tool and dye. He hunted birds. He refused to speak Pidgin. He drove across the country with my dad and uncle. He quit smoking cold turkey.

He also saves dollar bills in book covers and Bibles to keep them crisp and nice. He loves to talk politics and is a staunch Republican. He thinks everyone should join the Army. He doesn't have any tolerance for liars. He wants me to learn to fly planes. He goes on long walks because he doesn't drive anymore. He loves working on projects outside. He drinks Coors Light at night and coffee in the morning. He listens to country music because "it tells a story."

And hey, he went sky diving at 77!

But more importantly...

He played with me in the front yard. He made newspaper hats for me and my brothers. He took us swimming. He fed us fruit. He taught us about wheat and rice. He made us beef jerky. He cut up "some mango" for us. He bought us Kern's. He told us stories. He sent us birthday cards and Christmas cards with checks in them. He signed us up for karate, and he paid for our weapons. He took us to the donut shop every Saturday. He told us he loved us.

These are things I know about my grandpa. They are things I love and respect about my grandpa. These things are not comprehensive, and by no means can you understand my grandpa without talking to him.

He has lived a life that forced him to protect himself and his image with a hard outer shell. If he didn't like you, you'd know it. Now, he talks of his philosophies on helping people out and being supportive. He believes that he has to try to do good and be good to people now to make up for his wrongs.

He preaches education, education, education, health, health, health, and education!

In his older age though, my grandpa has changed immensely. He has become much more tender and open about his feelings.

I arrived home a couple weeks ago for Thanksgiving. It had been probably eleven months since I had seen my grandpa--not too bad, since he spends half the year in New York, and I live in Utah. But when he saw me, his eyes filled with tears. He told me, in his still-distant way, "It's good to see you! You look good!" as he hugged me.

It was such a tender moment to me because without words, my grandpa told me he was proud of me. He told me that he loved me. He was glad to be my grandpa. To have the approval of somebody so great, somebody who tries to do good in the world, means so much to me.

So this post is for my grandpa. I have been so lucky to have him and his wisdom in my life. I hope I can continue to make him proud.

I love you, Granpa!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just Can't Contain It

All right, so I have lots of studying and other assignments I should probably be doing. It's been hard to justify writing blogs and spending time that way when I have too much else I should be doing. But I am just in such a good mood today (in spite of the fact that I look like a complete mess). I have a lot to be thankful for, and I can't wait until Sunday to tell everyone about it at the pulpit. So I figured I'd do it here.

Funny that my Aunt April emailed me today that she wanted another update. I had intended to write one today. Good timing, Aunt April! Speaking of... That baby is going to be here in 6 days!

Anyway, so I'd just like you all to know how grateful I am for my Father in Heaven and for how mindful I know He is of me, especially lately.

I haven't been slacking too, too much. I've been doing my normal things, praying regularly, you know. But there have been some things I've left out of my prayers, and my lack of asking has resulted in some trouble for me (and my relationship).

But I know from so many, many experiences, that He is waiting for us to ask. And when we knock, He opens the door for us. There are some things I need to continue asking for help with in order for my relationship to succeed. But relationship aside, I'd like to share some recent experiences that may seem silly to you, but they are important to me.

On Saturday night, I got back from vacation in California. I realized that I had forgotten where in the huge economy parking lot I had parked. I figured I should have written it down, but then I thought, "No, I'll remember." Well, folks, I forgot. I knew the numbers, between 10 and 12. So I got off the shuttle before I thought it was getting too far from where I parked. I wandered over to where I thought I had parked. Keep in mind it was around 9:30 at night, really dark, and pretty cold Utah fall weather. I knew the direction I had walked to get to the shuttle stop from my car, so I just went in that direction. I was wandering aimlessly, and I started to panic. This is a huge lot, guys. So before I got too out of control and emotional, I said a prayer. "Please, please just help me find my car. Help me to stay calm. Help me to find my car, please." So I'm wandering around, trying to call Tanner so that he can keep me from panicking... And out walks a young girl from the shuttle stop. She's the only one around, the only one who got off at that shuttle stop at that moment, a minute after I prayed. She went straight to her car and then called out to me, "Hey! Did you forget where you parked?" I went over to her and confirmed her suspicion that I had, indeed, forgotten where I parked. She said, "Well if you want, you can just put your stuff in my car, and we can drive around till we find it!"

What an angel.

Seriously, what a simple act of kindness she did for me. I'm getting all teary-eyed just thinking about it. She said she had done that once before, and she didn't want me wandering around by myself in the dark parking lot when she could just drive me around. Turns out she was a 20 year old student at BYU, coming home from a Thanksgiving break in Texas. I had her drive to the numbers I knew I was parked in, and to a different shuttle. We found Edna in all her blue old person glory, waiting for me. I was so grateful for Krysta for having compassion toward me and driving me around annoyingly. What an immediate, simple, and amazing answer to my prayer! Thank you, Heavenly Father.

I bought some things for my dad for Christmas several months ago--as in, early summer. Good price, good presents, I couldn't resist. When I moved some stuff out of my room and into Tanner's basement, I knew I had moved those presents. For the past several days, I have been so bothered by not knowing WHERE these presents were. I had searched all the same places in my room three times. I looked on the shelf of my closet twice, and I had Tanner check. I looked under my bed, in my suitcases, in the corner of my room, in my bookcase, in the bookcase in the living room, in my bag of wrapping paper--EVERYWHERE--more than once! I searched the boxes at Tanner's house on my own. I had Tanner help me search! I looked again!

I don't know how well you all know me, but I'm a pretty organized person. I can get cluttery, but I know where everything is that I need. So when something is out of place, when something is lost, I freak out. It weighs on my mind like no other. I asked Rachel and Tanner if it'd be a silly thing to pray about. They said no!

So I did. And I prayed that I might be able to listen and hear where to go. I thought yesterday that maybe I should check Tanner's upstairs bedroom (we are never in there, I don't know why I thought of it), so we looked last night. Couldn't find them. Then I thought, "Go look in the boxes..." "Again? No!" "Go look in the boxes again, you haven't looked hard enough." "Ugh yes I have."

I ran back downstairs. In my searching of boxes I had convinced myself of one small box, "They cannot be in there. That's just my CD box. They're stacks of CDs, that's all that would fit in there. Besides, why would I have put THOSE in the bottom of a box of CDs? I'm not retarded." Nevertheless, I went straight for my little box where I had put my CDs.

Doubting the whole time, I used my key chain flashlight to look in the sides toward the bottom of the box. I lifted up one stack--nothing. Just CDs, like I thought.

"Keep looking." "Ugh, fine."

I lifted up another stack. Couldn't see anything.

Then I reached my hand down the side of this box, and I felt a bag.

I wriggled my fingers around to make sure it was the right texture of the bag.

I grabbed the bag, moved the stack of CDs, and pulled out the bag with the presents in it!

YES!!!! I found them!

You guys. Why would I have been dumb enough to put these presents at the bottom of a box of CDs? Probably because I thought I'd have unpacked it by Christmas time because we were already supposed to have been married. But whatever, that's where I put them. And in my last search, I listened to those promptings. I found them!

I feel so much better now, knowing where they are, that these presents are not lost.

These are two instances that sound so simple, but they are so powerful to me. They're so important especially right now, when I need so much help from the Lord. I needed these reminders to let me know that in prayer comes power and blessings. I know I can do what I need to do, and I know He is listening and will help me do what I need to do!

I am so grateful for the fall that has lasted so long this year! It's December 3rd, and still no snow! I'm grateful for the fall colors and the pretty leaves on the ground.

I am grateful for the Berry Topper from Jamba Juice because it's so healthy and delicious. I think I am addicted, actually. It may be a problem.

I am grateful for the beautiful sunset I saw the other night when I came out of my Spanish class at 5:20 PM. It was a wonderful thing to see after a long, hard, and emotional day of work and school and other problems. It was just a tender mercy for me to look at after that day.

I am grateful for Christmas music and pretty lights! I love looking at decorations. I put up stockings and lights at my apartment, in the living room and in my bedroom.

Note the cute "Believe" accessory on the TV. My grandma gave it to me.

Something about Christmas just brings out warm and happy feelings all the time. There is a house on Tanner's street that is decorated so simply and beautifully. It is my favorite. Driving is so much more enjoyable when there are decorated houses to look at! I love Christmas.

I am grateful for prayer. And I'm going to need a lot of help in the home stretch of the semester. I've got a test on Friday and a bunch of assignments left to do, plus one major project and a major paper to fine-tune.

I don't think I could have gotten through this semester of 5 classes and 30-32 hours of work per week without the Lord's help. I have been so blessed, and I needed to take time in my blog to express thanks for that.

If I don't update again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Free Stuff!

I've realized recently that I love to save money... Perhaps to a ridiculous extreme. I'm addicted to saving money and getting free stuff. This addiction isn't like, "Oh, I love to get free samples at Costco and in the mail." This addiction is real. Let me tell you how bad it is:

Since I was 12 or so, I have taken online surveys for Harris Poll Interactive. I get point for taking surveys, and these points rack up and can be redeemed for loads of good stuff--ranging from books to DVDs to magazine subscriptions to kitchen supplies to iPod covers. My first prize was an Ever After VHS tape. That should tell you how long I have been doing this. I've also gotten and a sleek touch-sensitive alarm clock radio. I think I've gotten one more thing, too. I enjoy taking surveys, so I figured I might as well get rewarded for them, right? Anyway, I love looking through all of the "Folios" with prizes that I can get and saving up for good ones.

Fortunately, my mom signed me up for my first credit card with Discover a few years ago. Guess what Discover has? Rewards! Throughout the year they rotate certain categories of spending where we get 5% cash back. A couple months ago, it was gas and hotels. Right now it's restaurants, grocery stores, and movies--this is my favorite! I just recently redeemed my points for a $45 gift card to Outback Steakhouse to take Tanner and myself out on a date. I've been using it every time I've gone to the grocery store or out to eat or bought something at work (Blockbuster).

When I needed a second credit card, you'd better believe I did my research. What would give me the most back? A citiBank mtvU card. I get a point for every dollar spent, a certain number of points for on-time payments, and I get points for my grades! Right now I can probably redeem about $30 to anywhere, including some of my favorite departments stores and some really good restaurants. Their points system goes through the ThankYou network, so you can check out all of the options. I think I'll just keep saving for now.

But WAIT! There's more. I realized I was drinking a lot of Diet Coke at work several months ago. I wondered what this "MyCokeRewards" thing is all about? I signed up and realized I get three points a cap. Then I bought a big pack of Coca Cola products and put those codes in and saw that I got 10 points for those. So when Tanner's mom buys Coke products, I steal the front flap of the containers to add points to my account. Once when I took out the trash, I saw an empty Coca Cola box hanging over the top of the dumpster. Oh, I told you my addiction was serious. I reached up. tore off the flap, took it inside, and got my points. I have somewhere around 239 and may redeem that for a magazine subscription of some sort, but I have not yet sorted through all my options.

In the mail, we receive a ValPak filled with coupons. I go through it and pull out my favorite ones. Sometimes it's for buy one get one free game of bowling at Fat Cats. Sometimes it's buy one get one 1/2 off entree at Costa Vida. Sometimes it's three free toppings at Yoasis. But I hoard them, I tell you. We also get ValuePages in the mail which saves lots as far as food is concerned. I even used a coupon for Iguana Ink to get my printer's ink cartridge refilled.

I bought an Entertainment Book last year for this year's use. You'd better believe that everywhere I go, I check my book and my printable Entertainment coupons online to make sure we're not spending more than necessary. Actually, we'll sometimes determine where we are eating based on where I have coupons for.

I have to mention that I bought my Entertainment Book through a website called InboxDollars. This website sends you emails that you get paid to look at (a few cents each page), and you can take surveys or play games. I got $8 added to my account for buying my Entertainment Book through them. When the price of the Book for next year goes down, I will buy it through InboxDollars so I can get my coupons as well as be able to get a $50 check from InboxDollars. This site isn't a very efficient money-making tool, but it's been great for slow days at work.

My love knows my obsession with coupons. So when he found fizook, I fell in love. We check fizook for coupons to our favorite places. The idea is that restaurants are bidding on our business. Guru's, Sub-Zero ice cream, Hogi Yogi, Teriyaki Stix, EZ Take Out Burger, and many others are on this website. We've saved a ton through fizook.

I have signed up for P&G Coupons,, and but don't yet have a family to save money for while shopping for groceries. I don't go to the grocery store that much. So maybe someday these will be more beneficial.

One time I drove all the way from Glendora to the iMax theaters in Ontario for the third Lord of the Rings because I could get a free shirt and hat with my Regal Entertainment card. I also have an Entertainment Card for AMC. Too bad there aren't any up here.

I signed up at and Snapfish to get free prints. I also got a free photo book and only paid for shipping.

I am signed up at to save money for my brother's college education. Certain stores and restaurants and products participate. I have about $6 saved, but it will add up over time, right? He's only 11.

I have my grocery loyalty cards at Smith's and Albertson's and love seeing my savings on my receipt. It makes my heart jovial.

I think I've gone on long enough, and I think you see how serious my addiction is. If you throw away my coupons, I will go crazy on you. If I see that I could have used a coupon, I get upset that I didn't use it.

Because of my love for money-saving and free stuff, I don't have any problem indulging in a $5 frozen yogurt from Red Mango once in a while. Some things are just worth it, you know?

Besides, if there were coupons for frozen yogurt places around here, I'd go there instead...

Three best things:

1. My Spanish test and essay scores
2. Long naps on a Friday afternoon
3. A cute and affectionate boyfriend

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cold, Dark Mornings

Mornings are darker now even though it gets darker earlier. I'd think it'd get lighter earlier at night, but I guess I just don't understand our solar system.

I wake up initially really anxious that it's still dark outside. I don't want to go to school. I want to keep sleeping.

When I walk outside I'm reminded of how much I like cold, dark mornings. I remember being maybe ten years old. My daddy would come in on Saturday morning at 4 AM when it was dark and cold outside, to wake me up to go fishing.

I'd get dressed in my ugliest clothes--for fishing was not a "cute" or "clean" activity. I'd jump in my dad's white F-150, and we'd head to AM/PM at the Chevron gas station. If my brother was with us, we'd all go in and get hot chocolate and pick something out for breakfast.

I always liked going with my daddy because he would spoil us. We could get whatever we wanted, and he always seemed happy to get us everything we chose.

We'd drive an hour or so, depending on where we went. Sometimes it was Perris. Sometimes it was Guasti. I think my fondest memories are at Guasti. It'd be really cold, usually. I could see my breath. I'd breathe out really hard on purpose just so I could see my breath linger and then evaporate away.

I remember being a little six year old with a net, doing my own fishin' for minnows. I'd lay the net down, wait for lots of them to swim over it, and scoop them up. I'd put them all in a ziplock bag with water that my parents had brought for me. Then we brought them home and put them into whatever water device my dad had in the backyard at the time. At one point, it was a wine-barrel waterfall. And now it's a pond in the back corner.

I remember that when I caught a lot of minnows, they had bred and bred. Generations later, the ones I caught ended up with big, beautiful, colorful, fancy tails. We had a really bad storm once, and the wind came, and then all my cute fish were gone.

When I wake up anxious, all it takes is for me to walk outside. Then I am flooded with memories of early-morning hot chocolate and fishing with my dad. I hope my husband provides these kinds of memories for my kids.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm a Consumer

The consumer in me is excited about my most recent trip to the mall, where I used a coupon I got in the mail for a free pair of panties from Victoria's Secret.

I'm sure you all want to know what kind I got. But I'll never tell.

After having searched the mall for shoes several times in the past two months, I decided to try Payless this time. Journeys failed me, Zumiez failed me, Vans failed me. It just wasn't happening. But Payless to the rescue!

They were on sale for $14.99 but it was buy one, get one half off. So they were $7.50. And dang cute. So I also got these:

Just kidding guys. Those are probably the second ugliest shoes next the ones I saw this girl in my American Lit class wearing in Fall 2006:

They were light blue suede Converse heel boots. Is that descriptive enough? I'm pretty sure I can't do their ugliness any justice.

I actually got these for the gym and for work, because my gym/work shoes are killing me. They're over two years old now.

They're brown and pink, not brown and white. And they are comfy and cute. But those slip-ons, I tell you what.

I really wanted some flats. But I cannot manage to let myself spend more on my credit card than I'd be able to charge on my debit card. Maybe next time I can justify it. There were some very cute pairs of flats, and I have NONE to my name, as cute as I think they are. It's hard to find them anywhere because my feet are so dang small. Size 5 represent! (Or size 2.5 in kids, if you want to make me feel sheepish.)

In other news, I got a 91% on my usage test last Friday. This actually disappointed me--I thought I had done better, but I'm OK with an A-. I'm trying very hard not to let stress take over my life and still allow an hour of relaxation time every night after being at school and/or work all day. I'm attempting to enjoy the journey and the learning process and love where I'm at right now, but we need a break sometime, you know?

My little brother is 19 as of three days ago. I cannot even believe it. I still remember his little boy voice and his little boy laughter and crying--begging me to let him play Barbies with me. Where does the time go?

I shall not bum you all out with the details of my personal life, this is a relatively positive post. I'll just say I'm working really hard on probably more things than I can even remember at the moment. And I want to say that I have a testimony of the Lord's love and concern for us, and I have faith in His ability to strengthen us as well. And I'm leaning on Him a LOT at the moment.

Three best things:

1. My new shoes. Something about new clothes or shoes just make you feel like 5x cuter than the day before.

2. Good hair days. I managed to fix my bangs so they don't look so retarded. And thank heavens for cold weather that keeps me from sweating and therefore keeps my bangs from getting pasted to my forehead.

3. My English Teaching program and all the people/professors in it. I love feeling like I have a partnership with people who have been doing what they do for a very long time and are ready and willing to help and dispense their knowledge to me and other novices. The networking available to me after graduating and while I teach will be amazing. I am grateful for such a cool program where people actually know you and want to help you!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Love You to Love Me...

Five things you didn't know about Janae

1. She once recorded a video with her friend Allyn to Fall Out Boy's "Dance, Dance," wherein she and her friend danced in crazy-like manners.

2. She got caught eating boogers by her mother when she was probably 3 or 4. Yep, she was one of those.

3. She gave herself an 8:30 bedtime in sixth grade.

4. She remembers every word you say and every face you make. She's even more likely to remember those things if they were negative.

5. She used to be so obsessed with the color blue that she spent $20 on a blue wig from Claire's because her mother wouldn't let her dye her hair blue.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Face It, You Need Us

I believe I've made it pretty clear that my boyfriend and I are pretty opposite in nearly every way we can be. He is an ESFP and I am an ISFJ. These are really general things and neither of us fit these descriptions to a tee. Our hope in being attracted to our opposite is that we will "become a more well-rounded, functioning unit." There's more stuff about it here.

I am a very structured and organized person. This is the way I thrive and enjoy my time, and I find myself happiest when I can check a lot of things off of a to-do list. Tanner is not so much this way. He will play and play and, as his personality profile says, "trust in his ability to improvise in any situation presented to him." In other words, he knows he can get it done a minute before it is due. He has helped me to learn to play, to learn that there is more time to get things done than I think. I have helped him to see the value of organization and completing reading assignments to get the most out of learning. (I think he may have rubbed off more on me than I on him ;).)

I was remembering last night that my friend Robin always had a song to sing to me at parties and late night sleepovers: "Every party needs a pooper, that's why we invited you. Party pooper!" I've learned to accept this about myself. It so happens that I get very irritable and unhappy when I don't sleep, so yeah, I go to bed early. It so happens that I can say no to a fun activity when I have something that I need to get done. I've been called "a grandma," as well as "boring." Party pooper, grandma, and boring. OK. I can deal with that. Because this is the way I am. I feel I know how to find a good balance of work and play, and I'll be a grandma when I need to be.

Then I wondered... Why is it that people who play harder than they work never (or rarely) get criticized? Is it because there are more of these types of people? People enjoy individuals who play and play a LOT. What concern is it of anyone's if they don't complete their responsibilities in time? I'm guessing that these are the reasons our procrastinating, fun friends rarely get criticized as much as we "boring" people.

Three quarters of our apartment (Raytch, Cara, and myself) are "the boring type." We get our stuff done and have the will power to turn down fun things if we have more pressing issues.

I've decided that both ends of this spectrum are needed. If everyone were like my Tanner, I'm pretty sure everything would be more chaotic than anyone would care to experience, and lots of things would not get done. If everyone were like my roommates and myself, the world would probably be really boring and still.

I think there's value to be found in both personality types. And I'm calling everyone out who has made fun of someone like ME and never criticizes someone for playing too hard. It's not fair. I'm done being called a party pooper and "boring." You just take us for granted!


For those of you who'd like to find out your Myers-Briggs results, you can take the test here. Many thanks to Tracy for having me take the test.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

School Days

Tanner's sister BriAnn asked me about school the other night. I realized I had been so caught up in the dramatic, emotional part of my life that I hadn't let anyone know how the more fundamental parts are faring.

While I have you at the beginning of this post, I'm going to ask you to click on the right side to follow my blog. I hear about people who have read my blog who I never even would have fathomed. It really doesn't bother me, and it certainly doesn't freak me out. I wouldn't put my life on public display in my blog if it bothered me, would I? I'm glad people care so much! Or maybe you all just think I'm a fabulous writer. ;) Either way, I want to know who is following, whether I know you or not! So click it, blog stalkers!! (just teasing).

Oh school... How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. School stirs up so many thoughts and feelings within me that I am not sure how best to encapsulate my thoughts. First of all, school has always been my life. As you know from my fear post, I like doing things that I know I am good at. I love doing things wherein I know I can succeed. School is my strong point. It is my life.

So the school year rolls around, and I have so enjoyed my spare time just working out and reading whatever I've wanted and watching movies, that I get so upset at my lack of spare time. I'm so mad at how long my reading takes. I hate how stressed I can get. And then I realize... This is life. This is me being busy. And I really, really enjoy it, if I'm being totally honest! What will life be like after I finish student teaching next fall? No school assignments (unless I do what I've assigned my students to do, which in all likelihood will happen). No required readings. No "projects." If you think about it, I WILL be doing all of those things for the rest of my life, it's just that I'm the woman in charge. And I WANT to do it. I want to assign projects, do examples, plan lessons, grade papers. So all the assignments I'll have forever I will actually enjoy.

Anyway, I figure that since my life will be so immensely different without school, I know I will miss it! I am trying really hard to enjoy myself in this last year as well as learn a lot. Let's hope I can do it.

So let's cover this semester.

I have three classes on Monday and Wednesday, two on Tuesday and Thursday, and one on Friday.

On Monday/Wednesday/Friday, I have ELang 322 with Sister Harrison. This is a Modern American Usage class--a class that focuses both on the rules of grammar as well as the actual usage of language. It is slightly demanding, but I am taking it for my own benefit as well as my future students. It is not required for me; I just think it will be useful. My professor is great. She is so approachable and fun and nice, and she is so enthusiastic about what she teaches. She is great. I love this class.

I have religion also--LDS Marriage and Family. I was surprised to find my religion professor is very funny. The other day he said, "When I first met my wife, I knew she deserved the best, so I asked her to marry me." I liked that. haha. I am so excited for the readings in this class. Knowing what the prophets and leaders of the church have said about having a successful eternal marriage will be so helpful. There are reading topics like resolving conflict, the ability to change, intimacy in marriage, and other things. I will be doing some of the readings with Tanner. Anyway, I am looking forward to it.

I have Mexican-American Literature twice a week as well, with my professor who I had in the spring--Quackenbush. He is so laid back (perhaps to a fault), but really cool. I am not too afraid of this class (except for the writing assignments) because most of the reading is in English. It is Chicano literature--stuff like House on Mango Street and Bless Me, Ultima. The workload is considerable, but like I said, it's nothing I can't handle given the extensive Spanish reading I have done in the past.

On Tuesdays I first have American Literature (late 19th, early 20th century) with Professor Christianson, whom I have also had before (for my American Lit survey class). I signed up for a presentation on the first book which is actually this Thursday. I figured I should just get it over with. Plus, it's Mark Twain, and he's pretty much my hero. So the reading load is do-able. I gained a lot of confidence in my reading capacity this spring/summer, in case you didn't notice. Having had this professor before makes me a little less concerned about how he does things, since I already know. He is very challenging and is also into discussion and critical thinking. He is great, and I trust I will learn much from him.

I have Teaching Composition with Dr. Debbie Dean on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She is well quoted in the English Teaching world. She is truly amazing. She is so approachable and kind. She is so normal, and you can tell she loves teaching and really wants the students to benefit. So I am learning a lot, and everything she has had us do so far has been great. I am loving this class.

So overall, while my workload may sometimes seem stressful, I know it is doable. I am trying to enjoy the content and appreciate the professors to the best of my ability. My disadvantage is that I work on Tuesday nights (which I asked if I could do Thursdays instead), when that would normally be the day I could do Wednesday's and Thursday's homework. I get home around 5:40 on Monday and Wednesday, and work till 11 on Tuesdays. Do you see the complications, getting home late and not having Tuesday for homework? Oh well, I'll do my best not to freak out.

On the Janner (Janae+Tanner) front, things are going well. I am still feeling good with everything. I'm not saying it's easy. It's really hard for me to figure out how to manage myself, my feelings, my expectations, and my communication. It's too bad we can't read one another's minds from time to time. I have gotten discouraged and it has been hard, but I haven't lost steam or faith. And I love Tanner so much and really am enjoying having him and his family back! Really, I feel so lucky.

Alright, so I think that about catches everyone up. Thank you all for your prayers in my (and Tanner's) behalf. I've so felt them. Love you. And don't forget to FOLLOW MY BLOG! :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Long story, short

Tanner and I spoke last night for a long time. His dad came in at some point and I explained more or less the things I talked about in my last post. He seemed very supportive of my goals and showed confidence in opposite people's ability to work things out. He said that it seemed like I had thought a lot about it and that I was being very rational. He told me I need to have a real appreciation for the opposite approach, a respect for it, and told me that Tanner cannot be changed through criticism. He said a lot of good and valuable things and made a lot of sense.

So Tanner has agreed to let me try to change the things I want to change. We are officially dating again and will let things play out however they are going to play out. On one hand we're picking up where we left off, and on the other we're not rushing anything. We have to see if this really is possible and are aware of the possibility that things may not work out. The problems that were there before are not just going to go away, but they can be managed better. And same as Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and yesterday, I have every confidence that things WILL work out. We can do this. I want to!

I am so excited to have this chance. I am so excited to see where this goes and how happy we really can be. And I'm so lucky to have Tanner! Plus, he's just so cute.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Newly Found Peace

I want to take another look at the blog I wrote last Wednesday, which as you know was to get things off my chest—to alleviate some pressure and pain.

The downside of sharing these things in a blog is that people take every word you say to be valid and true and lasting. I’m saying this is a disadvantage because if I change my mind, everyone can look back and say, “But Janae, you said this, you felt that, you did this, remember?” Yes, yes I remember.

I remember I said that nothing, from dating to picking our bed set, felt right. I remember saying that we are too opposite to make things work. I remember saying I could not obtain peace from prayer about our marriage. I remember saying I felt like something was missing, that I felt angry and anxious. I remember saying our happy days were fewer than bad days. I remember our non-matching cores, our opposite passions and approaches to life. I remember saying that no matter how hard Tanner has tried, I have been impossible to please. I remember saying that when I am affected by Tanner’s way of doing things, I am unhappy.

I also remember that on Monday when Tanner and I had first talked, that I asked for time. I should have taken that impression seriously and taken the opportunity to step back and look at things. Tuesday we saw each other again, Wednesday again, and I was not taking the time I needed to think about everything. I remember on Wednesday after talking to his parents, that we hadn’t officially made any statement as to us ending our relationship—it was just “decided.”

And do you remember?

Do you remember when I said three times that I am having a constant inner battle? Or when I said, “I've felt so horrible for being the way that I am?” Do you remember me saying that I love everything about him? Do you remember me saying I cannot ask him to change any more? Do you remember when I said that a week later I was still struggling really badly? What about this: “I keep wondering if this happened to give me a chance to change immensely enough to appreciate and work with Tanner better”? Remember when I said that I had never had my faith so challenged, and never had I been so confused by and bitter at Heavenly Father, or struggled so badly with His will? Remember when I was feeling sorry for myself?

Remember on Thursday how I kept thinking we could work things out? Remember on Friday how I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere? Or how on Saturday I was still crying on my bed with Rachel, telling her how back and forth I was about my decision? No, you don’t remember those things, because I didn’t tell you about them. EVERY day I have struggled with my decision, with trust in Heavenly Father. At no point have I had any desire to move forward in life without Tanner.

Remember how every time I’ve needed some space from Tanner, we’re always unable to carry it out because we always miss each other too much? Is it possible that the only way for me to realize and understand some extremely important things was to officially break things off and experience the hurt? Is it possible that I needed the time and space to clear my mind and hand it over to Heavenly Father after all?

On Saturday, I got down on my knees. I prayed for my heartache to stop. I asked for comfort. I asked for help to move on if that’s what I should do, or to be led some other way. I was washed over with a feeling of peace that everything would be OK between Tanner and me. For the first time in almost two weeks, I no longer felt confusion.

At stake conference that night there was a talk on hope—there were so many talks that could have applied to me because of the pain I had been feeling, but I didn’t feel their comfort because I no longer needed it. I had gained hope. I was thinking positively. I had images in my head of us happy and successful in our relationship. I suddenly was feeling excited for planning a wedding and picking a dress and living in that basement apartment, excitement that I had not felt before. I was excited at the thought that I was going to get married, and especially to Tanner. I thought all day about how my focus on everything before had been wrong. I thought about the Dr. Lund tapes that Tanner and I had listened to, about the mother who changes her entire way of loving and will not go to the place in her heart that made her critical and angry. If she can change so drastically by simply not accessing the negative parts of herself, then I certainly could. I thought of Sister Lund setting aside her frustrations and anger to talk about them in a “red hour” later on. If she can let things go and not be angry and talk about them later, then I certainly could.

On Sunday I was fasting and praying about the same thing. I had a continual feeling of peace and assurance and faith that everything would be all right. My head was clear and not a back and forth mess, not an internal battle like before. Elder Holland gave an amazing talk on difficult times. I was touched at his reminder that the Lord had been there all along while I was suffering; I just hadn’t called on him. When I finally did, all of these reassuring thoughts and images and resolutions came.

I remember though, that I told you my parents were unsupportive because my mom told me she had the feeling that everything would be OK between us—that it would work out, and I didn’t want to listen to her. I remember that all morning on Saturday I had dreams about Tanner and myself, happy and steady, and dreamt of myself asking him for another chance. I remember that on Monday in class, when I was still praying intently about all of this, my religion professor said that we could change parts of our behavior, that we could, like God, be slow to anger. I remember that sometimes the Lord teaches us what we have by taking it away. I remember that in order to see the change that needs to happen, we have to feel the deep hurt.

In response to that third paragraph: I think I had not fully forgiven Tanner for the rough start to our relationship. I think I need to learn the ways that the dynamic of the differences between Tanner and I’s approaches could really work in interesting ways in the future. I think that we had not given ourselves enough time to thoroughly pray and think out our future, and my lack of confirmation made me uneasy about everything. I think we don’t talk as much because we know so much about each other, and that the things we enjoy talking about are often different, and I’ve mistaken this as a “missing” component. I think I need to manage my feelings and be slow to anger. I think our bad days were only bad because I had not learned to just let things go. I think our non-matching cores are what I have always loved about us and that I just hadn’t yet learned to work with them. I think I need to learn to relax about the things that do not matter, and I will be easier to please and much happier.

I think I’ve re-read every negative thing I said and seen it all compile into one drastic effort and change that I need to make.

As another note, it would be silly to accuse me of changing my mind because I miss Tanner. It is true, I do miss Tanner. But I have made difficult decisions and dealt with heartache before, and I still have never gone back on a decision. I’ve always known my answer clearly, been confident in my decision, and dealt with the pain accordingly. I know the difference between going back to somebody for comfort because I miss them and a true change of decision through prayer. In this case, I am largely responsible for my happiness, and it took heartache to know that and for Heavenly Father to OK my real decision.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Was that a yes?

I'm feeling OK and have felt OK for approximately 4.5 hours now.

I hope these feelings are accurate. Time will tell.

See paragraph 21 of Wednesday's post.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dear Dad,

I won't be angry at him anymore.

I'll change.

Please just let me have him back :(


I keep thinking we could be happy together and work things out... That after this we'd really be able to be happy and just enjoy our time together. I keep seeing him getting back from Powell and seeing myself rejoin as part of the family for dinner on Sunday.

And then I remember all the times where I wasn't mad at him at all, and he thought something was wrong. I remember doing the dishes a couple Sundays ago, and him walking in and apologizing for not helping sooner because he was helping his dad. He was afraid I was mad at him. And I wasn't. But I was mad so often that he was in constant fear of upsetting me.

And that makes me feel like the worst girl in the world.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It has to happen now...

You know, writing is everything to me. It helps me organize my thoughts. It helps me communicate much better than I could ever do verbally. It also provides balance in my life as I am able to experience catharsis through getting my thoughts and emotions out into the universe.

I've been putting off writing this because I knew I'd be a wreck while doing so. I am at work, and I actually DO have work to do, but I'm entirely unfocused while doing it. And I realized that this has to happen right now. Yes, right now. I have to write it while my emotions are fresh, and while I have the energy to do so. I can't MAKE myself do it, and now feels like the right time, so now it is.

A little over a week ago, last Monday, I woke up in a funk. It was after a Sunday night conversation about wedding plans. We talked about how difficult it was to pick a date that worked so that people could come. The possibility was brought up that maybe we should just get married in Utah and not my dream temple, San Diego. The whole conversation felt so wrong to me. It made me anxious and stressed. So I woke up on Monday feeling very upset about everything regarding my wedding. And I realized that I had been upset the entire time, not just that Sunday night.

I was upset about how our dating process went. We didn't start "dating" until 6 months after we had kissed for the first time. There was a lot of pain involved in the initial months of our relationship, at least for me. In March, we started talking about the possibility of getting married. This quickly moved to shopping for rings and thinking about August for our wedding. This didn't feel right to me at all. I didn't feel very excited about my ring. It was and IS beautiful, and I loved wearing it. But it was hard for me to feel excited by it. It was hard for me to feel excited about the way he proposed--and it was wonderful! It was hard for me to be excited to tell people that I was engaged--but it was such a big deal! It was hard for me to be excited over shopping for our bedroom set. "Why now? It's so soon. We're not even moving in yet. We could just have a starter bed." The bedroom set I chose was beautiful! And we got a great deal. But, it felt too soon and rushed. Choosing the actual sheet/comforter set didn't feel like my choice, and I wasn't excited about that either.

Not being able to pick our own wedding date removed a lot of excitement. Not going and looking for married student housing made me unenthusiastic.

How horrible for Tanner! I'm in tears right now thinking about how I have been over the last few months. How awful it must be to know this person that you love does not feel any excitement over anything that is happening when you are going to marry them! I feel terrible. I tried so, so hard to be excited and enthusiastic. But for some reason, nothing ever felt right to me. The timing, the way things happened, it just didn't feel right.

Day to day for months and months I'd wonder if we were even right for each other. It seemed we'd fight about some silly little thing every other day or so. It seems I was always angry with him for no reason at all and every reason all at the same time. He and my parents would tell me, "We are opposite and complement each other. That's a good thing!" And yet I felt that there was too much opposite for us to be able to work things out. I shared this with him on a few occasions.

And still I trudged on. Still, the thought of married life, of settling down, of caring for somebody, all made me really satisfied. That kind of consistent lifestyle suits me. I thought if we communicated things effectively and worked on the parts of our personalities that clash, maybe we could be happy. For months we worked and worked. I tried time and time again to set my doubts and hesitations aside. Tanner worked harder for me than I would have ever imagined anyone doing for me. He became even more amazing than he was to begin with. I prayed for patience, I prayed for enthusiasm and courage. I prayed for everything I struggle with personally to be strengthened and improved. I prayed to let him do things his way, and I prayed that I'd be able to just be OK with that and leave him alone. I got better. I prayed for peace about our marriage. And still the doubts were coming.

In the last couple months, conversations have felt forced and not free-flowing at all--like we had nothing to talk about. In recent weeks I have become unsatisfied in general with being with Tanner when we haven't had anything to do. To me, when you are happy doing nothing, it says a lot. Instead I've been anxious when we've had nothing to do. I've found myself just angry and unsettled, and I found us generally unstable. I have felt like the days of happiness and love have been few and far between. So wonderful and so worth it, but so infrequent.

Last Monday was a hard, long day. I cried and cried. I left work early because I was a wreck. Tanner came over, and we cried and cried for hours at the possibility of not being together. I had hurt him so bad, and I was hurting so bad. We got pizza and stayed at his parents' house for a little while, and then I had work. He was so sweet and wonderful, and told me to prayerfully ponder everything while I was at work and that he would do the same. I did what my best friend Rachel said to do on Monday night--pray in a different direction than I had in the past--I prayed as if I had chosen to end things with Tanner.

On Tuesday, everything was fine and normal. We went out to eat some place... Had a good day. I felt at peace, but I had no idea what that meant. Peace about what, Heavenly Father? I think I just felt peace that my answer was coming. Tanner had been fasting on this day about everything.

On Wednesday, I woke up in a funk again. I was being impossible for Tanner to deal with--not communicating clearly, wanting to be alone, wanting to be with him, being irritable at him--I was being difficult. At some point on Tanner's first day of school, he spoke with Amy Hatch, who was able to share her own experiences and in essence answered his prayer and fast from the previous day. In the evening we talked with his mom about lots of stuff for a long time, anything and everything. And we went to Kohl's to look for a bathing suit for me for Lake Powell. I found nothing. After that, we got Wingshak for him and his family, and I dropped him off and wanted to go home. I went home, started crying uncontrollably, and decided I had to go back to talk to his parents about everything. I couldn't put it off, my heart was hurting too badly.

They had already known what had happened on Monday. They graciously turned off the TV and turned their hearts and ears toward us. They pretty much reaffirmed every one of my concerns. They explained to us that we are polar opposites, and that there is 20% of ourselves that we can change, but that our cores need to meet at some point. There has to be some common ground in the personalities or the way we live our lives. We've done everything we can to meet each others needs--we've both worked so, so hard. And yet our cores just don't match. And so instead of feeling happy and satisfied, we've both felt anxious and tired. Us being so opposite has made it impossible for Tanner to please me. He is so amazing at letting things go, at being so accepting of me and all of my flaws, just recognizing what he needs in me. It hasn't been fair to him that no matter how hard he tries, it'll never be enough for me--how horrible for him, to do such a great job at everything and have it not be sufficient. I told his parents that all I saw ten years down the line, was work. I realize that marriages/relationships take work, but that's not ALL it should be. Enjoying each other's company without trying too hard is part of a good relationship, too. It's not fair to have to work at being happy.

Jim and Starla were very supportive of us and felt terrible for us. I am so grateful they were able to be honest and open in their thoughts with us. After we were done talking, Tanner and I cried some more. I eventually gave back the ring, painfully. There is a white mark on my finger from that ring, and I so miss having it on my hand.

I know all of the amazing things about him and have always known the things he has that I need, that I've needed to learn. I've tried my hardest to learn what I can from him, to change myself and relax, and be better in many ways. I hope you guys recognize this internal battle I'm having. I feel like such a brat. I feel like an unhappy, impossible, ungrateful person. I've felt so horrible for being the way that I am.

And yet I'm having to recognize that these things aren't my fault. There are certain things about me at my "core," that I cannot change. There are certain things about Tanner and me that are in conflict. When we are friends, these things aren't an issue. But together, when I am affected by the way Tanner does things, I feel unhappy.

I hope you all know that I am not saying that my "way," of doing things is the "right" way. I don't think that. I never told Tanner that my way was the right way! The world needs people like him. If everyone were like me, I'm pretty sure it'd be a really boring world. I APPRECIATE his way because I love everything about him, it's just that it affects me in adverse ways.

I so wish we could have made things work, being the opposites that we are. But there are needs not being met on BOTH ends of the spectrum. And I give a million, infinite thanks to Tanner for his love for me and his willingness to change so much. But I can't ask him to change any more. He is beautiful and good exactly how he is. I don't want him to change anything else about him. We just have to pray for acceptance of the fact that these parts that we cannot change are incompatible.

And how horribly, horribly hard it is!! It is a week later, and I am back at work and school, still struggling not to cry every ten minutes. I LOVE Tanner. I love him for all that he is and everything that he has brought into my life. I miss him terribly--I wish I could explain how much I miss him. I was so, so lucky to have him. I would have been so lucky to marry him. He is truly great, and selfishly I want him back because I know he has so many things that nobody else will have. I am so sad to miss out on everything he will become. I cannot even imagine!

This pain in my chest... It feels like my heart is being ripped in half. I'm so tired of crying. My eyes are tired. I miss Tanner so much. I picture us being together, just hanging out in his basement and going out to eat, or doing whatever. And I have to try to remind myself (it's HARD to remind myself) that something about our relationship just wasn't enough--there was some connection, some innate understanding, something missing, for both of us. And yet I am so willing to just go back there, just be with him, have the comfort of that relationship and the understanding and knowledge that we have of each other. I want to be with him all the time. It's just this constant inner battle, and it is exhausting. To know you want something, but to know you need something different.

I keep wondering if this happened to give me a chance to change immensely enough to appreciate and work with Tanner better. Or else I guess I have to wait to find somebody else. Although I'd be happiest right now knowing that I could have Tanner again, to be perfectly honest. I love Tanner's family. I am losing so much along with Tanner. After being with someone for so long, you truly do share everything with each other. We have all the same friends, and unfortunately we cannot all hang out again, at least for a while.

I'm going to make a really personal turn at this point and tell all of you that this is probably one of the hardest times of my life right now. I have done this before. I've given something up that I wanted because I felt that Heavenly Father wanted me to. I've been obedient and faithful. This time, my faith is really being challenged. Here I go crying again.

I'm trying so hard not to be bitter at Heavenly Father, to know that He has a better plan for me, that this is for my growth and betterment. And yet I am like a little child kicking and screaming. "I don't want this, I hate this, I hate you!" I truly have felt so, so bitter. And it is exhausting. We both put so much time and effort into this to get a "no," after all. And I have to give up something, someONE, so amazing. Why? Why can't I just have him? I want him. So here I am, arguing with my Father who knows so much better. I'm submitting, just not quietly.

It is also hard not to have the kind of support that I would like from my parents. I don't want to turn this into any sort of thing where I discuss my parents' inadequacy. For one, they're far away. Secondly, I need support and wisdom and encouragement, in a spiritual and uplifting way, and I am not sure they can provide the words that I really want and need. Tanner is so lucky in that way. I miss Jim and Starla and their counsel and spirituality and insight.

I haven't felt so sorry for myself in my whole life. I'm not a self-pitying person at all. I suck things up and get on with life. But this week has been awful. I have been wallowing in self-pity far too much. For instance... This stress and emotional trauma has made me sick. I got sick the day before school started, and here I am constantly blowing my nose and coughing up infectious waste. Gross. On Sunday, doing what I was "supposed" to do but not what I wanted to do, I fell down the stairs at my apartment complex. This made me look toward the heavens and go, "Seriously?" Like, of all times, when I really don't want to go to church, I get one more curve ball thrown at me, "Let's see how much faith you REALLY have, Janae! Curse your slippery shoe heel, and down you fall!" I fell down the stairs with all my weight on my right foot. It was swollen, but now it is better, just badly bruised and skinned. I also skinned my knee, which burns on a regular basis, particularly when I am forcing myself to pray. After falling down the stairs and getting sick, I also burned my finger on the oven rack. Then on Monday, being sick at work, I thought my regular shift was 5-11. I went to clock out at 10:45 and the computer told me that I was too late to clock out. It turns out that the night before school started at 8 AM the next morning, the night I was sick and physically challenged, I was only scheduled till 10. Well, awesome. I stayed almost an hour longer than I needed to. This was pretty much the last straw, and I bawled the rest of Monday night. I got no sleep before school on Tuesday. I'm pretty sure that when it rains, it pours.

And I know all of these things have been challenging me more and more to bring me down to my knees. I'm sure I'll be there and begging for help tonight.

For now, I am tired of complaining and feeling bad for myself. I know I need to count my blessings always!

So I am grateful that my school day yesterday went smoothly, as it has thus far today. I am grateful that I am almost done being sick--thanks NyQuil. I am grateful for priesthood blessings from my bishop that bless me with faith because He knows that I need it right now. And I am grateful for a good parking spot. I am also grateful for the cooler weather, and the temporary fall that will soon approach. I am so grateful at the timing of Rachel and her sister moving in. I think Heavenly Father knew I would need them at this time, and if I had been alone this past week, I'd be in much worse shape. We watched Enchanted last night, so I am grateful for movies that make me laugh through sadness. *I want to add that I am so, so grateful to everyone who knows me who has been so supportive and sympathetic to me. Your kind words, your prayers, your concern, is so appreciated. At a time that I need to feel loved, it's been provided to me. So thank you everyone--Allyn, Deborah, Tracy, Laura, Matt, Mike, Steph, Lecelin, Ashleigh, Kristina, Shivani... I cannot name everyone. But thank you.

You guys... I am devastated. I truly am having a constant battle with myself over everything. I am in pain, and I am struggling with His will. I am trying to remember that something else awaits me, sometime. Please keep me in your prayers if you can. I completely know that there are so many people who have such worse situations besides "silly old heartbreak," but everyone's got their own things to deal with. And right now this is mine, and I need all the help I can get. This probably seemed like an entirely selfish post, but I don't want to speak for Tanner. These are my feeling the way I see them... I know he has struggled immensely in the last week, and he is in my prayers. He deserves so much. I miss him and still want to be with him and am still hoping that it will work out sometime. I hate thinking that this is permanent--forever.

Also, I've realized I have a lot more blog readers than just my inner circle of friends and family. Those of you who read and have thoughts to share, by all means, leave comments and let me know! I won't be freaked out that you are "stalking" me.

I feel so much better after writing this. Holy moly. Stick a fork in me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

As Promised, 9591 Pages

Rewind – 220
*Speak – 197
Finding Daddy – 165
Cut – 168
*The Giver – 180
Sometimes I Think I Hear My Name – 139
*Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman – 183
Holes – 233
True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – 215
To Cross a Line – 154
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t – 164
Are You In The House Alone? – 172
*Hope Was Here – 186
Lucy Peale – 167
Prom – 215
Where the Red Fern Grows – 212
The Black Pearl – 140
Lisa, Bright and Dark – 143
*What My Mother Doesn’t Know – 259
Dancing with an Alien – 134
Romeo and Juliet, Together (and Alive) – 122
Devil’s Race – 152
S.O.R. Losers – 90
The Dark Pond – 142
The Fighting Ground – 157
A Place Called Ugly – 134
On My Honor – 90
*Missing May – 89
Driver’s Ed – 184
*Story of a Girl - 192
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – 384
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 433
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 547
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 734
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 870
*Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince – 652
*Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 759

Those are all the books I read this summer. Of course they're all for young kids/adolescents, so the reading level isn't very high. But still. That's probalby more than I've read in my whole life combined.

I read the last seven books in two months. And I felt like I was reading pretty slowly and relaxedly so, there's that. I've asterisked the ones I would recommend.

I'm adding to the list:

*Catcher in the Rye - 214

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Walk to Remember

bahaha. Here you thought I was going to post a blog about that sappy movie that I can watch maybe once every two years. Don't get me wrong, it's a great movie, but it's a little over-the-top in a few ways so I can't handle it very often.

Actually, I wanted to write about my walk to work today. Sounds random, I know.

I park in the same parking lot five days out of the week for about 45 weeks in a year. It's about a 7-8 minute walk to my work. I also go up 101 stairs. I always feel a bit stranded at my office because if I ever wanted to leave, it's a long walk to my car, and I'd have to hope there is parking when I returned, then I have another long walk back to work. It's a little annoying.

Where I park!

In any case, I love the spring and summer terms when "my" parking lot is super empty! I was most excited when summer term finals were over this past week. I drove to work on Monday morning thinking, "Yes, the parking lot will be SO empty!" Then I drive in and see huge motor homes and trailers parked under all the shade in the parking lot. "GOSH DANGIT!!! It's freaking education week!"

While I think education week is amazing for all of those people old enough to be out of school and old enough to own motorhomes that take up all the shade, it is annoying for students and student employees.

So today, instead of squeezing in near a motorhome and a tree to try to get some shade, I decided to try another parking lot--one that doesn't force me to go up 101 stairs.

The arrow is pointing to my work.

I parked in a spot that will provide my car with shade by the time I return to it later today. I had a nice seven-minute walk from my car to work. It's this diagonal line that runs past the tennis courts on the left. On the right you would probably think you were in some sort of forest. There are trees and plants growing rampant. The entire walk is completely covered in shade. You do have to walk up a steep hill (equivalent to the stairs), but it's not as hard as the stairs and is also totally covered in shade. There were birds landing on the side walk and skittering into the trees on the right.

The best part is, I wasn't all sweaty when I got into my office!

It really was a nice, shady walk, and much more scenic than my normal one. I only never park there because I was convinced it was farther away than where I normally park, but it's not. If this parking lot is open during the fall, I will be parking there on a regular basis, I think.

In other news, I made a movie bargain with Tanner last night. He wanted to watch Lord of War.

I wanted to watch Almost Famous.

Well, I think I should be allowed first choice from now on. Because Almost Famous is awesome. And Lord of War, not so much.

I felt that only 45 minutes into the movie, we hadn't really gotten anywhere. I understand that it is an insider's take on gun running and how the United States is providing guns for people to kill each other in smaller, warring countries. I get that it is a criticism of the things people do for money and justify their actions by saying that they are not the ones pulling the trigger. These are all good things to think about. I guess I just felt that the presentation of it was a bit weak.

The movie was slow. There were trashy, unnecessary parts. The parts that were gruesome and meant to make a powerful point were not powerful, just gruesome. It was enough to gross me out and make me feel guilty, but not enough to make me feel any emotion. I don't know if it's Nicolas Cage and his horrible narration that makes me completely detach, or what, but I just wasn't affected in the ways that I felt the topic could have done.

It was not emotional. It was offensive. It reminded me what a crappy place this world is and left me numb.

A movie like Blood Diamond, however, touches on similar topics, and made me want to get up and do something. I was connected to the characters and their changes. I was connected to the children with guns. I was shown the evils of this world through a very tragic portrayal. It moved me, it didn't numb my soul.

Anyway, those are my feelings. I think a good message delivered completely the wrong way is what happend with Lord of War.

Next up, Almost Famous. I already love this movie. Tanner needs to see it to love it too! :)

Three best things

1. Scriptures. I'm reading in Alma and there are so many sweet scriptures in these chapters. Alma 34 is probably my new favorite. It's beautiful.

2. Visiting Teaching. I took a very short time out of my day on Sunday to visit teach two women in my ward. I don't think either of them are struggling or particularly need my roommate and I, but you never know. And I have a strong testimony of visiting teaching--I felt so good after I had done it. My mother's visiting teachers have kept her closer to the church than anything else has in the last few years.

3. Cleanliness. I love having my apartment and bedroom clean. It's just so much nicer to come home to.

(4.) Everyone in my life. For caring and reading my blog and commenting and encouraging. I appreciate it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fear is Not My Friend

I cannot believe how difficult it is for me to even consider writing this blog. My heart is beating rapidly, and I feel the tears behind my eyes welling up and getting ready to fall.

I'm realizing something about myself--a very bad thing. These moments of self-reflection, when you take a careful, honest look at yourself and are not happy with what you see--those are difficult moments.

I figured because this issue involves a lot of people, I should probably just put it out there. Also, writing always helps me feel better. But this is scary, so bear with me.

I don't know if it has to do with being the first child, or just that it deals with the personality that I have, but my whole life I have been a perfectionist. I'm very hard on myself. This also means I have to be the best at everything I do. I'm not very competitive; I don't want to confuse you. Or maybe I am competitive and am afraid to lose.

I think that's what it is.

This is a really horrible predicament for me to be in. My fear of losing, of not being good at something, makes me stay inside my comfort zone, away from the things I expect I won't be good at.

I did not do sports growing up. I have realized that sports should be an important part of any child's life for so many reasons--social growth, personal growth and confidence, athleticism and health... But I did not do that. I was more the intellectual type and did not really care to do active things. Again, don't misunderstand. I was not a lazy child. I just was not an athletic one. I did martial arts starting at age 11, and I loved it. I love it to this day. But I remember being so afraid to start that, too. I was afraid a few years ago to go to the gym--to lift weights, to work out in front of people, to let people see that I had no idea what I was doing.

I remember being young and trying to learn card games from one of my best friends. I was no good. I'd lose. I'd forget the rules. I'd feel so uncomfortable and anxious about silly card games.

My family wasn't ever very active or out and about. We're into movies and music and conversation, but not super active things. So when I got invited on a hike with my fiancee's family, I was afraid of the challenge that faced me. I tried to just go full force into it and do my best and have a good attitude. I rocked that hike, by the way.

The thing I am grateful for is that in recent years I have been more willing to push myself outside of my comfort zone than when I was young. I was afraid TO GO TO THE GYM, for crying out loud. But I went. I did it. And I love it now. I have learned that it's OK to learn. It's OK to learn while others are watching. And it's OK to look bad while doing it. I know these things. But it doesn't make the process any easier for me. I get extremely uncomfortable and emotional about things I am nervous about and unfamiliar with.

I'm going to Lake Powell in a couple weeks:

-I am missing school--a huge focus in my life--and it is stressing me out beyond belief how I'll manage to keep up or what kind of consequences I'll face in my grade. I know it will all work out, but that doesn't make it easier for me.

-I am going with a really athletic, active family. They all know what they're doing. This scares me because I have never water skiied or wakeboarded or done any water sports like that. Trying these things is immensely scary for me, especially with people who are so good at these things. I get that it impresses people that you just make an effort, but for me, like I've explained, not doing well is really difficult for me.

-I am going with a very outspoken family. Oh how I love them. But it is very difficult for me to get a word in at any time because I don't care much to compete and am not confident that what I have to say is of any real value. They intimidate me a great deal. This frustrates me because, in a comfortable situation where I feel like the dominant personality, I am always the one doing all the talking and making all the jokes. When I am not the dominant personality and am uncomfortable talking, it makes me feel bad because I feel like I'm not letting people know me for how I really am.

Last night, I was told that I'd have to stay up late and play card games. How simple is that? For Janae, not so simple. Staying up late is not my thing to begin with, I get super grouchy and my body acts kind of funny. And I've explained that from a young age, I've never liked or been good at card games. I feel so silly and dumb even talking about this, but this is how serious my complex is. I had a dream last night that I was playing card games. You were supposed to end up with as few cards as possible. I thought I was doing well but somehow ended up with this two foot high stack of cards and had two people staring at me, like, "Wow, Janae," really confused as to how I had botched the game so badly. And I felt really stupid that I had done so badly. I HAD A DREAM ABOUT A CARD GAME, PEOPLE. What the heck?

OK, so now everyone knows that I am immensely uncomfortable with many factors. I am afraid to try things that I don't think I'll be good at. I'm afraid of being laughed at. And even if no one laughs, I just beat myself up anyway.

So there it is--one of my issues in a blog. And now it's all out, and I'll probably psych myself up for this trip and all of the intimidating things that come with it. I need to let go and be proud of myself for making an effort and for getting outside of my comfort zone. But any understanding and support and patience that I can get would be so helpful to me.

Thank you guys for reading... Hopefully I don't seem like a crazy person now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Life as a Student

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with how fast life goes by. I am in my fourth year of college. After that I will do a semester of student teaching, and then I will be a real teacher. WHAT?! Oh yeah, I'll also be married. And hey, in a few years, I'll have a family. What?! When did all of this happen? I swear I was just in eighth grade.

Then I thought about how grateful I am for blogs. It's a motive for me to journal my life events. I figured I should probably write about this fabulous past week that I've had before it slips away to the crevices of my mind. I wish I had Pensieve like Dumbledore's. Then I could just watch my own memories.

On Tuesday night, Tanner and I went on a date to dinner and Trafalga. OK, so Trafalga was a serious ghetto. But we had so much fun. We got the ultimate date night package thing.

We ate at EZ Take Out Burger - our In-N-Out knockoff.

First we decided to try the batting cages. I wanted a pretty slow one since I have never done it before. But of all of the cages that were there, I got the defective one. It was throwing rogue balls everywhere. It even it me in the knee with a ball. I was pretty much done at that point and walked away and pouted. Tanner came into my cage to see what I was talking about. Then he got hit on his left leg--Charlie horse status. See! I wasn't lying. So we talked to the employees who were young, super cool and laid back kids. They let us try a different cage--a softball cage. Yes. Much easier for me to hit. I whacked some good ones, but I was hitting really low on the bat, so I hurt my hand badly in this activity. My hand was hurting until Saturday, and even now my carpal/whole forearm hurts. So I sustained an injury, but like I said I hit some balls and made contact with most of 'em. I got 'er done! Tanner did too! He hit some balls really hard! A lot of them!

After that we did the go-karts, which Tanner was expecting would not be fun. Oh my gosh! It was a blast. I wish we had pictures of it. He wanted this fast car he saw a kid racing in, and I chose the next fastest. I beat him. I lapped him once or twice. We were both giggling like crazy. Every time I'd come to lap him, he'd try to run me into the center thing! Not nice. Really though, I had so much fun.

After that we went and did mini golf. I won. :) Tanner didn't like it. But I think that's just because he is an ogre and can't hit the ball softly enough to make it end up a reasonable distance from the hole. I had fun. I like miniature golf.

Then we went inside and got our "8" tokens. Half the games we tried were broken and ate our tokens. So I went and told them, and they gave us like a handful on a couple of occasions. We played air hockey, and Tanner won. :) So we won some tickets and got prizes--a Mickey Mouse keychain and a teddy bear! He pretty much gave it to me for free. We didn't have near enough tickets! So that was fun. We got our Dippin' Dots too--Mint Chocolate. They were delicious. Then Tanner drove me home and we went our separate ways. It really was a fun night!

We've been re-watching season one of Dexter, so that has been fun. On Friday night, we had a Joshua Radin concert.

We left at about 4:15, drove through Taco Bell, and were on the road. We got there at about 5:15 because we were supposed to be there at 5:30 for an "exclusive meet and greet" with Josh Radin. Turns out their sound check took a longer time than expected, so the meet and greet was after the show. So we got to stand outside watching a group of lesbians kissing each other till doors opened at 6:30 or so.

The tour bus.

We were right up on the stage.

All of us and the set. :)

Hana Pestle opened the show.

She was good. I didn't care too much for her music, but the girl could sing--no doubt about it.

Erin McCarley followed.

I really enjoyed her, actually. She had some pretty catchy tunes. I got a video of her.

Joshua Radin graced our presence with his cute smile and cute hat.

He played mostly old stuff with probably three or four new songs. I loved his new one, "Brand New Day." It was upbeat and happy. I got some videos too ("Closer," the best song ever!). He decided on a name for his genre of music: "whisper rock." There were free stickers on his table--a silhouette of Josh making the "I love you" sign and a "Shhhhhhh" trailing out of it.

I think he meant to do the "rock 'n roll" sign.

After the show he was kind of out and about, available for pretty much everyone to talk to. So our "exclusive" meet and greet was pretty impersonal. But hey, we got to meet him and greet him. We shook hands, took pictures, and got his autograph.

Raytch and Josh

Me and Josh

Tanner and Josh

Cara and Josh

After the show we went to Denny's and got shakes. I love my post-show Denny's.

OK, I am SO excited that Rachel and Cara are moving in. I am so excited that half the apartment will be empty for another week till they move in, too. I love empty apartments.

I've been slowly moving stuff into the basement apartment that Tanner is already living in. Speaking of, I should probably get pics of that too and post them. Anyway, I'm just trying to clear up some space :) I got all my CDs and some books out, all of my games, lots of my blankets, that sort of stuff. I took my Garden State poster down so Tanner could have it in the basement. My room looks really clean and pretty empty. As soon as Rachel brings her TV I can take that over there too. I need to clean out my dresser and closet and donate some clothes. I need some boxes to clear out and organize my book shelf. And Raytch and I are going to reorganize the kitchen, pretty much. My plan is to get rid of all of the tupperware without an owner and a lid. Without a lid, it is of no use to anyone :).

So like I said my room is pretty empty and looks really clean. I'm sure I will pass cleaning checks today.

In other news, my parents bought a Harley. Oh goodness.

They both fit on it. That is a big hog, I tell you what. I hope they are safe. I think motorcycles are so dangerous.

My mother is cute and sent me a package that I got on Saturday night. It held an Angels shirt (which I'm wearing today), Angels shorts, an Angels hoodie, and an Angels canvas bag thing. It also had a Coach purse--just a knockoff, said mom. I used it for church yesterday because although I'm not much of a name brand girl, the bag is cute, and it was free. So that was a cute litle "sessy" (borrowing Bri's word) from my mom. She is so thoughtful.

I am excited for Powell in a couple of weeks. I'm not excited that in a week or so I'll need to go buy my textbooks and try to get all my syllabi from my teachers. I'm not excited for the stress that may accompany this trip with schoolwork.

I need to go dress shopping, but I am waiting for Rachel to do that. I was told by my co-worker to look at Sweeatheart's Bridal on Bulldog Ave., so I will probably do that. It's weird, November is not that far away! I should probably start panicking.

Anyway, lots of stuff going on in my young life. Weird how different life will be in a matter of five years. Weird how different it is from even 4 years ago.

Three best things

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It was a really fun and fast-paced book. I cried and cried and cried at the end of it, but that's OK. I shall live through the day.

2. Cleaning checks. Feels like I just had them, but whatever forces me to live in a clean environment, right? I love emptying my room.

3. Smoothies. Random, I know. But I got one on Saturday morning for the first time in a while, and it was delicious.

4. (Yep, four today). Swimming pools. This heat is lovely as long as a pool is around. And a good tan is fabulous--thank you, brown pigment!